I posted this in the welcome forum. Seems like this is the better forum. First - thank you for having this amazing forum. I joined 7 days ago and have spent hours each day reading the post of other married gay men who came out or are about to come out. Each story is a reply of my life. The stories along with guidance of a few gay friends has given me the courage to finally tell the truth to my wife and kids (15 and 19). Married 23 years. 48 years young . I plan on coming out in the weeks ahead. When, don't know - I have some things to get in order since I am pretty certain I will be kicked out immediately when I come clean. My gay friend who was married is helping me put a plan in place and helping me think of things that need to be in place before I spill the beans. My story is like many here - first and foremost, I’m so very sorry I’ve lead my wife down this path – I tried to fight this battle but I can’t win. At the end of the day, she deserves to know the truth and she deserves better. I hope with all my heart and soul that one day she will understand and she will forgive me for the lies, and the pain that I have caused her and the girls. I’ll go to my grave knowing I hurt her and that I let her down but that is my burden to carry. She loved me, she gave me love, she gave me memories, she gave me a family, she and the girls are my purpose in life – I will not abandon them and will never let them suffer. I hope she understands that promise through all of this journey. This decision didn’t happen overnight – As I started to think about telling her this, I am overcome with 1000 different reasons to just keep quiet. I was and I still am very scared. I am scared for her, and the girls too. I worry what this will do to them. She knows something is wrong over the last few months – she asked me what was going on – why was I so sad looking – so quiet. I blamed it on work but in reality, I was having this conversation in my own mind and dealing with the emotions of what the results would be by me coming out to her and the girls. I fear severely impacting the people I love. This is #1 on my list- her and the girls. I do not want her and the girls to suffer because of my issue and me coming to terms with who I am. She deserves more. She deserves to know that the lies are over. The girls deserve a Dad who does the right thing and one that does not abandon them and honors the obligation to launch them out into the world as best equipped as possible. I fear giving up love and companionship. Do I love her? YES. Is she my best friend? Yes indeed. Am I giving her 100% of my love, affection and emotion to our relationship? NO. I suppose in life you never get 100% of what you want. So, filling one unfulfilled box (coming to terms with who I am) and perhaps draining two other boxes (love and companionship) may not be a good trade off – but I am prepared to deal with the outcome. I cannot continue to live this lie. I fear giving up love and companionship (repeat...)I’ve got great love and companionship, I may never find this again. Other facts I want to make sure you understand: I love my wife and I’m going to tell this because I love her. I realize that whatever I do will hurt her to some extent and I don’t want to hurt her. However I must be true to myself. I cannot continue to lie or live a lie for me. I am dammed if I tell her and dammed if I don’t tell her - I want to be open and honest. I can no longer lie about my habits, my past experiences, my fears, hiding and wondering if she really knows. She deserves better! I do not want to put her health at risk – that is not fair. I did not go into our marriage straight and then turn gay - this issue has been in my life since I was a teen – I just put it out of my mind and then allowed it to develop over the last 15 years. Whatever happens in the end I want us always to be friends – the girls deserve that from us. We’ll have to find a way to put our personal feelings and emotions to the side and never let this cause them pain, suffering or guilt. I will do what is right at the right time that we agree on if that means moving out, separation, divorce - I want the decision and timing to be mutual. And I want the girls to know that this has nothing to do with them. And, it is not because we don’t love each other. It is because I am gay and I am doing the right thing by being honest – and I hope that she will see that and respect me in the end. Nothing she has done or not done makes her responsible for what has happened and the decision for me to come out. This is all on me and I will have to live with this for the rest of my life. Nothing she or anyone else can do in the future can change the way I am or who I am. I’ve been trying to change it for 30 years – and yet, here I am admitting that I am gay. This has nothing to do with the girls. I love them with all my heart. This situation – the other life – the lies - is the fault of how I was raised and society and the pressures it places on gay people which caused me to consciously and subconsciously suppress who I am. I have been attracted to guys since I was a teen. I suppressed my thoughts due to fear of my dad along with how I saw my parents handled my sister being gay. I knew when I graduated from high school that something wasn’t right – I remember the chance to be with a girl on my high school graduation trip – I didn’t do anything, I talked to her for 2 hours. All my buddies got laid that night – I had a nice conversation on the beach. When I was in high school I went out on three dates – the prom and a few other dances. I was always uncomfortable especially when it came to kissing my date goodnight – I just wasn’t interested. I had my first experience with another guy in college two years before I met you. It was not planned, it was after a long night of partying. He made a move on me and it just happened. I freaked out and decided I couldn’t be this way. I went into the closet that night. I met my wife 2 years later. I stayed away from any gay activity (meeting other men, surfing internet chat rooms, watching porn) for 7 years. I started watching porn again just before my first daughter was born – I stopped by a porn store near my office downtown and watched porn. This opened up all the suppressed feelings of my attraction to men again. I watched gay porn out of curiosity and became turned on much more than straight porn. I tried to get help. I used parental locks on the Internet to stop it but could not resist. I always found a way to get around the barriers. Feelings of shame, revulsion, guilt, denial, and confusion led me to seek counseling from a pastor at a local church and a small men’s group focused on poon addiction. I stayed clean for 2 years. I met another guy at the group and became friends with him. Our support partner relationship lead to a sexual relationship and we saw each other for 2 years until he moved to another state. This was around the time that her dad and my dad passed away. I was using their death as a mask for my depression over breaking up with this other guy. When she asked me if I was having an affair 6 years ago, I lied to because I wanted to save our marriage and our family and I didn’t want to admit I was gay. I stayed clean for about a year and began watching gay porn again while traveling on business. I began randomly hooking up with other men. I’ve done this for the last 6 years. Out of fear that I put her health at risk, I had testing for STD’s in October of 2014. I am clean, there is no risk to her. I lied to about the true reason for getting tested. I do not do anything unsafe – she is not at risk. While not coming out in the past few years during this confusion I would not have denied it if she asked if am I was gay. In fact, I think she may have known but told herself it wasn’t true. My answer would have been yes, I am gay. All of the intimacy / sexual issues we have had over the years were driven by my issue with being gay. I entered our marriage thinking I had moved past my issues. For the first time in my life, she made me feel loved and I loved her too. I honestly felt that I had managed to put the gay side of my life away. I won the battle, proved to myself that I wasn’t gay and that I was normal. She saved me – she gave me a reason to fight the battle. When we married, I had no concerns about who I was, what I wanted, who we were, that I loved her, nothing --- I married her with a clean conscious and in a frame of mind that I was normal. In fact, I was proud of myself for winning the battle – I just didn’t tell anyone why I was proud. I kept it in my closet for no one to ever know. I was born this way and I have suppressed this issue to the point that I can no longer deny who I am. I know without a doubt that this isn’t a bad habit. I know it is something I can’t just put in a box and it will go away. I know that I am a gay man- period. I am gay. I am not attracted to other women or fantasize about sex with them. I am attracted to other men. I don’t even look at girls generally. I used to look at straight porn but now exclusively look at gay porn. I cannot stand feminine men, its masculine straight acting guys I am drawn to. I am not, nor will I ever be a flaming gay guy. That’s just not who I am. Shame, Confusion, Depression, Guilt, FEAR. Feeling bad and not wanting to hurt her, I am dammed if I tell her and dammed if I don’t tell. Over last 18 years I have been through all of the commonly recognized feelings • Denial: I am not different. I am not gay. No one needs to know, this is private. Keep playing the hiding game. • Anger: This is not fair. This should not be happening to me. It messes up everything in our life. People will not like me anymore. The girls are going to hate me and I am going to be an embarrassment to their friends. Why me? I did not ask for this. I don’t want it. I won’t do it. This isn’t fair to her and the girls. • Bargaining: Just keep it quiet – no one needs to know. • Depression: I don’t see a way to be happy. I can’t come out. I can’t stand this lie anymore. It is killing me. There is no happy ending for anyone. • Acceptance: It won’t be easy, but I will do what I have to do. People who love me will love me no matter what. Realistically there would seem to be only a few options now - Separation / Divorce… but the impact is huge: Most important – the girls. I know this will kill them. I am who I am but I know their world will be turned upside down. We have invested a lot in our marriage/house/shared memories to just walk away. Complication of selling the house. I will have to move into an apartment and I do not want this to cause her and the girls lifestyle to change. I am not trying to walk away from any responsibility – I want to continue being part of the life events for our girls – help with pick up at volleyball, help move my daughter in college into her apartment, go to volleyball games, etc. So that's my story. That's all I can purge at this moment. More to come in the days and weeks. One moment I feel good - the next moment I feel like a big fake. I am not going into this thinking I am gonna tell her and I am free - my gay buddy told me - it will feel great day one then reality will set in... and it's gonna be tough but in the end it is worth it to stop living a lie. I live in north Houston, Texas in a bubble community called The Woodlands if there are any other men out there who want connect I could use some guidance. Peace!